A good friend called and wanted to know how often she should be visiting. Her sister and brother live near mom but she’s trying to chip in and do her fair share. Is visiting every month, or every other month enough?
There really is no right or wrong answer. There is just the answer of what is right for your family.
My friend has been hiring and screening caregivers, and picking up extra projects (like getting a hospital bed at home). It turns out that her sister is overwhelmed and mom is only getting more prickly. She doesn’t want the help. She fires everyone that shows up to help for everything–from cutting the grass to helping get out and go grocery shopping.
I let her know it might be time to step back and let mom try and manage on her own. Sometimes you have to let them succeed or fail. She probably doesn’t believe she needs the help she is getting. It’s hard to do.
What if it were you? How might you like it if other people were making these choices for you–much less your own kids?
I know that she and her sister and brother are doing it out of love. They very much respect their mom. However, what you do thinking it is welcomed might not always be.
I also shared how I changed the language I used when my mom needed help, but didn’t recognize it. Could she suggest the person showing up to help around the house is one of her high school friends that wanted to visit with her mom? Could the person cutting the grass suggest he is neighbor home for the summer and just noticed that the grass needed a mow?
It took me a while to adapt and create situations that my mom could accept. Might something like this work to get her mom the need she helps but maintain her sense of self worth? I reminded her of all the things her mom lost. Her husband is gone, her sister took over her checkbook, she had to give up the car keys after the fall and hip surgery … what does she have that gives her purpose and meaning?
It’s easy to arrive and offer help, but we often neglect to recognize the need for our loved ones to maintain a sense of self-worth.
The question about how often to visit isn’t the real issue. But I know she is visiting her mom and talking with her siblings frequently. That is on top of her full time job … and her 7 children! I commend every adult child who is working to be involved. Their loved one is better off than the majority of the seniors in the United States. Appreciated.